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Page last updated at 14:10 GMT, Monday, 6 April 2009 15:10 UK

Knockout king Valero wants Hatton

Edwin Valero
Valero started his career with 18 first-round knockouts in a row

Venezuela's Edwin Valero is targeting Ricky Hatton after winning the vacant WBC lightweight title with his 25th knockout in 25 pro fights on Saturday.

Valero, 27, stopped Colombia's Antonio Pitalua 49 seconds into the second round in Austin, Texas.

"If Manny Pacquiao or Hatton give me an opportunity, I would consider moving up and fighting them," said the former super-featherweight world champion.

"This is the beginning of big things. No man can take my punch."

Manchester's Hatton takes on Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas on 2 May at light-welterweight.

But a more likely next opponent for Valero is Mexico's Juan Manuel Marquez, the WBA and WBO lightweight king and a world champion at three different weights.

"Marquez is a little better than any of the others," said Valero. "If it was up to me, I would want that fight [Marquez], but it is up to [promoters] Bob Arum and Golden Boy to make it happen."


Valero was fighting in the United States for the first time since 2003. He suffered a head injury in a 2001 motorcycle accident which prompted boxing authorities in several US states to withhold a license.

In the opening exchange of round two, Valero dropped Pitalua with a short right hook to the jaw.

The 39-year-old Pitalua beat the count, but Valero swarmed all over him, pinning him to the ropes and sending him sprawling for a second time. And after a third knockdown, the referee had seen enough.

Valero's victory also has implications for Bolton lightweight Amir Khan, who has spoken of his wish to fight for a world title this year.

In Montreal on Saturday, Timothy Bradley recovered from a first-round knockdown to score a unanimous decision over fellow American Kendall Holt and unify two titles in the light-welterweight division

Bradley (24-0) added Holt's WBO title to his own WBC belt in the unification bout, meaning Holt drops to 25 wins and three defeats.

Holt caught Bradley with a right during a first-round flurry and sent him to the canvas. But the Palm Springs fighter, who claimed his belt from Bradford's Junior Witter last May, shook it off and by the seventh he had assumed control.

Holt rallied in the 12th and had Bradley in enough trouble that referee Mike Griffin gave him an eight-count, but Bradley managed to stay the distance.

see also
Marquez claims lightweight belts
02 Mar 09 |  Boxing
Hatton relishes Pacquiao showdown
29 Jan 09 |  Boxing
Bradley takes Witter's WBC title
10 May 08 |  Boxing
Valero continues knockout streak
04 Jan 07 |  Boxing

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